Welcome to Day 9 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!
These Florentines make brilliant last minute Christmas presents, and would also be great nibbles for a Christmas party. You can make bigger ones with larger biscuit cutters which would also be perfect for dunking in a cup of tea!
So last week on the Bake Off was Advanced Dough! I thought all the bakers did well, I especially liked the look of Richard’s doughnuts, and I can’t believe he was star baker for the 4th time! I was sad to see Martha go, but she did amazingly well, and I’m sure we will see more of her in the future!
I decided to make a fruity enriched plait, with orange zest in the dough and dried berries and cherries kneaded in. These pictures are from the second time I tried it, the first time I made it I think I put too much orange zest in, and it retarded the yeast, because it didn’t rise properly, and came out really flat and odd! But the second time I made it it turned out well!
Orange and berry plait
For the enriched dough:
- 350g strong white bread flour
- 40g softened butter
- 30g caster sugar
- 7g instant yeast
- 6g salt
- 1/2 a beaten egg
- zest of 1 orange
- 150ml warm milk
- 50ml water
For the filling:
- 70g mixture of dried berries (I used dried cranberries and cherries)
- beaten egg to glaze
1 greased and floured baking sheet
- Bring the milk and water to the boil in a saucepan and then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Add the sugar, yeast, salt and flour to a large bowl and mix. Stir in three-quarters of the lukewarm milk and water mixture, then mix in the egg, softened butter and orange zest.
- Combine, using your hands, and then add as much of the remaining milk and water as you need to get a soft, sticky dough.
- Knead on a lightly floured clean work surface until smooth, elastic and no longer sticky. Knead in the berries, shape into a ball, place in a large oiled bowl, cover and leave for 1-1½ hours, or until doubled in size.
- When it has risen, knock back to push some of the air out, then divide into three and roll each ball out into a sausage about 40cm long.
- Place all three lengths onto your baking tray and secure them together at one end. Plait the dough together, and then secure the other ends together so you have a nice plait shape.
- Prove the plait for 45 minutes until doubled in size, then brush with egg and bake for 35- 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
This post is entered in week 7 of the Great Bloggers Bake Off, run by the lovely Jenny Paulin over at http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/.
A couple of weeks ago I was sent a bag of goodies by the lovely Sugar and Crumbs, who are a company selling naturally flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders. I was sent their new flavours to try, which included a salted caramel icing sugar, coffee icing sugar, black cherry icing sugar, and my personal favourite: cherry cocoa powder.
I found this cocoa powder really easy to work with, and it had a great cherry flavour. In these brownies I used some cherry cocoa and some normal, as I didn’t want the cherry to be too overpowering, as well as making my sample last longer!
These brownies would be perfect for a Valentine ’s Day tea party, as they are squidgy and chocolatey, with a hint of cherry, and some juicy cherry pieces. Or, of course, you could just eat them all yourself…!
Chocolate Cherry Brownies:
350g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
125g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
30g Sugar and Crumbs cherry cocoa powder
20g normal cocoa powder
60g dried cherries, soaked in boiling water mixed with 1 tbsp cherry cocoa powder for 2 hours, then chopped.
80g dark chocolate, chopped
20 x 30cm baking tray, greased and lined with baking paper
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, then pour onto the sugar and mix well. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then add the vanilla.
- Add the eggs to the mixture and stir, then sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoas.
- Fold in, then add the chopped chocolate and cherries and stir again.
- Pour into the tin and spread out evenly, then cook for 25-30 minutes, until the top has a crust, but still a slight wobble.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then cut into slices